Don’t Read This Book If …

JONAH COVER - DARKER BLUE - SMALLER USE FOR KINDLEDON’T READ THIS BOOK if you don’t want your heartbeat to pick up speed at the sight of someone walking through a door – or if you don’t want to find yourself holding your breath waiting for a kiss – or if you don’t want to find tears rolling down your cheeks when disappointment is unbearable – or if you don’t want to find yourself grinning widely and looking a little foolish if you happen to be reading in public – or if you don’t want to finish the last chapter with a deep sigh of satisfaction and longing all rolled into one. If those experiences are not what you’re looking for, then do not read this book.

Most of my novels include a romance, but often it is only a part of the story, and not always the main focus. But I have to tell you up front that Jonah’s Song is totally and completely an honest-to-goodness, no-questions-asked, out-and-out old-fashioned love story – from beginning to end. Now don’t misunderstand: no parts of it are rated “R”; it’s a perfectly clean read. But it is a story that digs deeply into the hearts of a man and a woman – and into the heart of what God intended true romance to be.

All right then, who should read this fourth book in The Smoky Mountain Series? Well, if you’re not one of those people who fits the description in the first paragraph of this article, here’s the book for you. IF you “love” a good love story, then make a bee-line to Amazon’s Kindle Store and order Jonah’s Song while it’s on sale. In digital format, it will be selling for the special price of $1.99 from now through Christmas and then revert to the same price as the other books in the series..

Want to know a little more about the story? Here’s a peek at the blurb from the back cover:
Professor Jonah McDaniels, handsome violinist/conductor, is used to girls in his college classes having a crush on him. But he has never felt anything in return until he meets Valentina Rosswell. Even then, he pushes his feelings aside, knowing there are too many barriers to a personal relationship between them. But when he meets her again seven years later and realizes that what he felt for a college girl has matured – just as the girl has matured into a beautiful, desirable woman – he still does his best to resist falling in love.
Valentina has always believed Jonah was out of her league, and even when they renew their acquaintance as adults on equal footing, she does her best to refrain from loving this man who has filled her dreams for years.
But true love doesn’t follow the rules, nor does it dissolve just because two people put up a fight against it. And when the Lord sets His heart on a romance, He can employ some pretty interesting ways and means to bring it to pass. However, when dealing with Jonah and Valentina, even the Lord seems to have His work cut out for Him.
Jonah’s Song: A love story you won’t easily forget.

So buy one for yourself – and another one for someone you love – this Christmas

(Also, if you do read it and you do finish the last chapter with a sigh of satisfaction and longing, please stop and say a few words about the book in the “Customer Review” section of its Amazon page. Thanks.)

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‘As I Sat on the Bus’ Writing Challenge – Week of 6/30/13

OLD BUS -- WIKIPEDIA - FOR # 2 STORY
Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

AS MITZI SAT ON THE BUS

As Mitzi sat on the bus, she enjoyed the rhythmic movement – and she enjoyed the respite from the heat she’d been walking in for the past hour. She leaned just slightly against Pete’s leg, both for the comfort of knowing he was there and the reassurance that he was all right. He was her responsibility, after all, and she never forgot that for one moment.

Her nostrils flared slightly as she gradually identified and responded to all the various scents that wafted through the air of the full vehicle. There was the expected scent of human sweat, and that was a natural part of Mitzi’s life, so even though one or two of the passengers had probably failed to bathe that day, Mitzi’s sense of smell was not insulted by it.

Of course, there was the unmistakable scent of cigarettes that clung to the clothing and hair of half the people on the bus – a scent that just couldn’t seem to be erased or camouflaged effectively by any order eliminators. Of course, some people tried to cover that smell with perfume, and naturally, there were several different flavors of perfume and cologne surrounding Mitzi. She couldn’t have told anyone which flowers, which wood essences, or which spices had been used, but she most certainly recognized the scents as natural and non-threatening.

And then there were all the delicious scents that emanated from the grocery bags and baskets carried by some of the passengers. Many days Mitzi found this trip on the bus thoroughly enjoyable because she could sit and sniff the tantalizing aromas of pork, or fish, or – her favorite – salami from the Italian market at the end of Jasper Street. Her nose was hard at work now, sorting through all the variety of groceries, trying to determine exactly who it was who had that salami. There! The lady in the green coat sitting just three rows up from Mitzi and Pete. Delicious! Mitzi was hungry.

But right after identifying the owner of the salami, Mitzi turned her head to the side just slightly and sniffed harder. There was something else in the air. Something new. Something unusual for the interior of this bus. Something … not right. She wriggled in place a time or two, turned her head the other direction, but then brought it right back to where she’d been focusing. Some sixth sense stirred a warning so deep inside that it put every sense on high alert. Even the hair in her coat bristled. She whimpered and moved again, restlessly. Pete reached a hand over and patted her head, then scratched her ear slightly. “You getting’ restless, old girl?” he asked tenderly.

The young man sitting in the seat that faced Pete spoke now. “That’s a beautiful dog you have there, Sir. A guide dog, if I’m not mistaken?”

Pete turned unseeing eyes toward the young man, his hand still resting on Mitzi’s head. “Yes. Yes, she is … and the best in the world. Been with me for 10 years now.” He chuckled and ruffed Mitzi’s fur affectionately. “We’re both getting pretty old, but we keep sojourning on together.”

She seems very affectionate,” the young man replied. “I noticed how she leans against your leg constantly.”

Yes, that’s her habit. Feels responsible for me, I think.” He turned his head as if to look down at Mitzi, who had glanced up at him. “Good girl, Mitzi,” he said. His voice had grown gravely with age, but there was still a tone of kindness that over-road everything else when he spoke. His eyes didn’t see the look in Mitzi’s. It was a look of concentration — wariness. She was puzzled by what she smelled – by some strange entity that every nerve in her body was responding to – and she wanted her master to know. Aware, by training, that he would not see her face, she understood that she would need to convey her concern by movements and sounds. So she wriggled agitatedly and leaned harder on his leg, still sniffing the air, her head turning several directions, trying to get a reading on exactly what and where the problem came from.

All of her senses eventually focused on a passenger across the aisle and two rows up from Pete. He was reading a newspaper, his black briefcase on the floor, held snugly between his feet. Her eyes focused and a low growl sounded in her throat.

Pete was concerned. Mitzi never behaved in such a manner on this bus. She was used to riding it, and she never had negative responses to people. But she whimpered now, pressing Pete’s leg even harder. He leaned down, wrapping one arm around the dog’s neck. “What is it, Mitzi? What’s wrong, girl?”

Mitzi whimpered again, then whined openly. “Shhhh,” Pete whispered. “Quiet, girl. We’ll be home soon.”

There were two more stops before the corner where Pete and Mitzi got off the bus. That meant at least 20 more minutes, and Pete was a little worried that some of the other passengers might become frightened if Mitzi continued growling – even though it was low.

But Mitzi growled again, and then immediately emitted a sharp bark.

Mister, you’d better keep a tight hold on that dog of yours! She sounds mean to me!” said an overweight guy sitting behind Pete.

Pete turned in his seat to address the man face-to-face, even though he couldn’t see him. “Oh, Mitzi would never hurt you, sir. She’s as gentle as a lamb.” Just then, though, Mitzi’s growl and tug at her leash indicated things could be otherwise.

Hey, shut that mutt up!” another man yelled from several rows up.

Hey, Pete,” the driver called back. “What’s going on back there? Your dog never gave us any trouble before.”

I know, Randal. I don’t understand it myself.” At that moment, Mitzi barked sharply again and pulled on her leash so hard that Pete only barely held her in check. By this time, she was up on her feet and pulling on the leash, whining, and giving Pete every signal she could give to say he needed to follow her lead. She looked toward the man holding the briefcase between his feet. Her eyes were focused on the briefcase, though none of the passengers realized that fact. They believed she was looking at the man.

Sir, you need to get that dog off this bus,” came from a middle-aged woman. She didn’t want to insult a blind man, but she was starting to become frightened herself. Pete stood to his feet to try to handle Mitzi better.

At that moment, the bus slowed to make it’s next stop – still two stops away from Pete’s corner. But by this time, Mitzi was almost beside herself and pulling on her leash with all her strength, whimpering now, more than growling. It was as if she’d traded her natural instinct to attack the “enemy” for her well-trained instinct to protect her master.

Once the bus was stopped, the driver stood and called back to Pete. “I’m sorry, Pete, but I think you’re going to have to get Mitzi off of here now.”

Pete nodded. “Yes … yes, you’re right Randal. He turned his head in an effort to address the other passengers, just hoping they could see his face enough to recognize his sincerity. “I’m sorry, folks. Mitzi’s such a good dog —”  Before he could finish his sentence, Mitzi had emitted another sharp bark and jerked the leash so hard that Pete nearly lost his hold completely. “All right, girl. I’m coming!” he said and began to move up the aisle behind his dog.

The driver took the time to help Pete down the steps. He knew the old man could get down just fine under normal circumstances, but for some reason, today was anything but normal. “I’m sorry, Pete,” he said again. “You take it easy walking from here.”

Pete reached out toward the voice to touch Randal’s arm. He made contact and patted the arm. “It’s all right, Randal. I’ll figure out what’s wrong, and we’ll be back to ride tomorrow with no problems I’m sure.”

The door slid closed; Randal changed gear, and the bus moved on down the road. Pete knelt down to talk to Mitzi. How strange, he thought. The dog was completely calm now. No more growls, no more whimpers. She wagged her tail and licked his cheek. Sorely puzzled, he rubbed her back and spoke reassuringly. “Good girl, Mitzi. You’re a good, good girl.”

As he knelt there beside her on the sidewalk, the bus moved on to the end of the block, and then on to the end of the next block, where it exploded and burst into flames.

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If you’d like to take part in this writing challenge, visit Bumba’s blog here and get the details.